A rare, prehistoric-looking fish that inhabits just a single stream in Indiana is in danger of going extinct, but local wildlife activists want to step-up efforts to save the fish.
This species of lake sturgeon is found only in the east branch of Indiana’s White River. It is the last known population of this freshwater river swimmer that reproduces naturally in the entire Ohio River basin. The Ohio River basin comprises a vast area that reaches into six states.
The lake sturgeon has the look of an ancient species, and indeed, has survived millions of years of evolution and vast changes to the Ohio River basin environment — much of which has been radically altered by man-made engineering projects and farming.
The lake sturgeon has some amazing attributes, such as a lifespan known to be as long as 100 years. It can to grow eight feet in length. They are a protected species in Indiana and no recreational fishing of the lake sturgeon is allowed here. The fish is listed as endangered in Indiana by the Center for Biological Diversity.
Several groups are teaming up to help the fish survive in Indiana waters. That includes the Indiana Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club chapter of Indiana and the Hoosier Environmental Council.
Lake sturgeon were valued by American pioneers and Native Americans as a delicious food source and also for their eggs, which produces a rich caviar. But over-fishing and aggressive farming has reduced the numbers of lake sturgeon to near-extinction.
The White River in Indiana was where a species of fish was caught that has not been known to spend a lot of time in the waters of the state. An alligator gar was the fish that surprised the angler who reeled it in. It weighed a total of 55 pounds and was 56 inches in length. This was the first alligator gar to be taken from Indiana waters in a very long time. This is according to information released by marine biologists in the state. There have been examples of the fish that have weighed as much as 300 pounds and been 10 feet long.
The Division of Fish and Wildlife in Indiana could not provide any accurate info regarding how many alligator gars could be living in the state of Indiana. There will be testing performed in the waters where this particular specimen was caught in an attempt to find out if any more of that species are living in the area. There have been no decisions made about regulating the amount of alligator gars that are legally allowed to be harvested by the public. This decision cannot be made until an estimate on the population can be determined.
There was nothing illegal about the way that the alligator gar was caught. All of the regulations of the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife were met. The alligator gar has the reputation of killing many species of fish that are commonly sought by anglers. This is one of the reasons the species has been killed off in many parts of the country. However, certain parts of the country have talked about trying to bring the alligator gar back. This type of restoration program is currently not being considered in the state of Indiana. There was a report three years ago about an alligator gar being caught in Indiana. However, that fish turned out to be a totally different species after it was examined by experts.